Compliance plan 2019—law firms

The following Practice Compliance practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Compliance plan 2019—law firms
  • Is a compliance plan compulsory?
  • Governance
  • Compliance officer duties
  • Contents of compliance plan
  • Compliance officers and their areas of responsibility
  • Monitoring compliance
  • Reporting compliance breaches

Compliance plan 2019—law firms

This Practice Note explains whether law firms should have a compliance plan and, if so, what you may wish to include. It reflects the SRA Standards and Regulations 2019.

See also Precedent: Compliance plan—law firms—2019.

Is a compliance plan compulsory?

There is no direct requirement in the SRA Standards and Regulations 2019 for law firms to have a compliance plan.

This contrasts with the 2011 regime, where the SRA clearly expected firms to have a compliance plan—the guidance notes to the Authorisation Rules 2011, stated: ‘what needs to be covered by a firm’s compliance plan will depend on factors such as the size and nature of the firm, its work and its areas of risk’. This has not been carried across to the SRA Authorisation of Firms Rules 2019.

It is therefore a matter for firms whether they choose to have a compliance plan, but doing so will help demonstrate the firm takes its regulatory obligations seriously and, indirectly, will assist with other compliance obligations, particularly in relation to:

  1. governance, and

  2. compliance officer duties

Firms that have or wish to obtain Lexcel accreditation must have a risk management policy that includes a compliance plan.


You must have effective governance structures, arrangements, systems and controls in place that ensure:

  1. you comply with all the SRA’s regulatory arrangements, as well as with other regulatory and legislative requirements, which apply to

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